Acton Academy Omaha

Winds of revolution

What a week it’s been in the Elementary Studio! Energy rose as they began the week and counted down into the Colonial Acton world. “3…2…1,” they said together. Some heroes were randomly drawn as Loyalists, while others remained Patriots.

The Loyalists got special treatment from King George. While some had to eat on the floor on their mats for lunch, the Loyalists got to eat at the nice table, for example. Soon, however, as proclamations were made, the colonists didn’t know how much they liked King George. Now they had to line up in order of height every time they went somewhere, saying, “Hail to the Queen!” three times. One of the Loyalists began to lead the patriots in a revolution, drafting a declaration of independence and getting many colonists to sign it. However, this first attempt ended in failure – and the colonists were surprised to find out how harshly King George comes down on those who commit treason!

More proclamations, more taxes and more rules came from far away, across the sea. The colonists’ freedom was waning… yet their confidence was waning too. Some Loyalists and Patriots were clambering for revolution, while others didn’t want to sign, for fear of what might happen to them personally if they lost yet again. “We don’t want things to get worse,” they retorted. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts to avoid more attention from King George, things did get worse. Every sharpened pencil – a tax. Every use of a utensil – a tax. Every trip to the bathroom – a tax. Every free time and lunch break – a tax. Tension was rising.

Thursday morning, revolution was in the air. Before the day began, the group of colonists held a secret meeting in the gym – deciding their plan A, B and C of revolt. “Sometimes you have to lose something in order to gain something!” one called out strongly, trying to convince the others. They had planned a revolt. “When you’re called on to share in the discussion – just say NOTHING!” said one. “In Silent Core skills – we are just going to TALK!” said another. The burn of anger was beginning to light a fire in them – yet little did they know this fire was about to destroy them.

After morning launch, as the heroes transitioned to begin Core Skills, a third round of proclamations was read.

“Here-ye-here-ye!…1) Thou must empty out the contents of your cubby and place them neatly on the top right hand corner of your working space in Core Skills. 2) Thou must raise a hand when you’d like to change what you are working on in Core Skills. 3) If you’d like the attention of King George’s Messenger you must put your hand on your head. 4) Finally, there is now no free time. Thus says the esteemed King George!”

“Plan B!” The ringleader called out. All of the colonists began talking loudly in Core Skills, completely ignoring the proclamations and the Yacker Tracker. King George’s messenger had a lot of work to do, walking around, finding many of them in violation of many different proclamations. “I find you in violation of Proclamation #6, you must work without talking. I find you in violation of Proclamation #12, you must raise your hand to switch what you are working on” and on, and on, quickly writing down each and every tax and violation that accumulated, which amounted to many lost points.

Then, all of a sudden, it hit the ringleader. If he didn’t earn enough points for the week, he would be in jeopardy of violating his Leadership Contract – which he needed to fulfill in order to avoid the addition of another, more difficult contract to remain at Acton.

“Abort the plan guys,” he said with a difficult sense of knowing. He knew what he had to do, even though it felt like nails on a chalkboard to him. You could see it in his eyes and in his body language. He raised his hand since King George said to. He organized his workspace like King George said to. He put his hand on his head to get King George’s messenger’s attention – because that was the law from King George.

Now that the colonists had settled down, the real revolution could begin – and one that could end in real change in this quest! The Loyalist leader and small group of colonists decided to draft up not one declaration of independence – but 7. They wanted enough chances at the roll of the die that they would land on the correct number and finally win.

On the third declaration of independence, they rolled the number they needed. Cheers broke out! The colonists had won the revolution!

Unfortunately, with the next roll, it was determined that the Loyalists were charged with treason, which meant their taxes would last a bit longer.

In any case, the colonists were overjoyed. They couldn’t wait to get back to enjoying their freedom.

In closing, here are a few beautiful lessons learned that we witnessed this week in the heroes:

Freedom at Acton is a beautiful thing. The heroes are so grateful to have it back!
Freedom to have a say in one’s government can bring out the best in a person, while being controlled completely by an authority figure can often bring out the worst.
A leader looks past the current moment to see what he values most – and this Acton Hero valued his contract and the promises he has made to be here in this community – even more than his visceral desire to revolt at all costs. Some costs aren’t worth it in the end.
Leaders are needed to see the vision and mobilize people toward a common goal for their good. It took a lot of negotiation by a number of leaders (some Loyalists and some Patriots) for everyone to sign these declarations of independence, in light of the potential harsh consequences. It was special to see these leadership traits being honed in them this week.

Stay tuned for more adventures to come!